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Young gun Heathcote and Team GB veteran Grube win Paris 2024 selection

by British Sailing Team 20 Mar 07:26 GMT
Vita Heathcote & Chris Grube (GBR) - 470 World Championship 2024 © Bernardí Bibiloni / Int. 470 Class

Sailors Vita Heathcote and Chris Grube will compete for Team GB in the mixed dinghy class at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, the British Olympic Association has announced.

Heathcote will be the youngest sailor in the Team GB line-up aged just 22, while Grube, 39, will make his third appearance for Team GB having competed at Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 with Luke Patience.

The pair only joined forces eight months ago but last month scooped a silver medal at the 470 class World Championship in Palma, Mallorca, securing a quota place for Team GB and earning themselves athlete selection.

Heathcote, from Lymington, Hants, is a rising star of the British Sailing Team, joining in 2020 aged just 18.

She was world champion in the 420 class, the youth version of the 470, the previous year and has since scooped a European bronze medal as well as the recent World Championship silver.

The Olympic legacy also runs strong in Heathcote's family - her uncle is three-time Olympic sailor Nick Rogers, who won silver medals in the 470 class at Athens and Beijing.

"It gives me goosebumps knowing that I'm going to be a part of the biggest sporting spectacle on earth," said Heathcote.

"The Olympics has always been the goal and the thing I project my inspiration and motivation towards, so selection is a box ticked on the way there.

"I feel like now I can really sink my teeth into that event and the progress up to it - it is a very freeing and unique sensation."

Heathcote will have big shoes to fill, picking up the mantle from Tokyo 2020 gold medallists Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre.

Team GB has a rich history in the class, which until now was split into men's and women's fleets.

Since the class was introduced to the Olympics in 1988 Team GB has won four silver medals in the men's fleet, and two golds and a silver in the women's.

The change to a mixed fleet, brought in for Paris 2024, opened the door for Grube to make a comeback to the class he's competed in for two decades.

"In the run-up to the 2023 World Championships Vita needed a crew, and I was available," said Chester's Grube, who's been sailing professionally since Tokyo 2020.

"Vita and I have worked tirelessly over the last six months. It's a late campaign for us but coming second at the World Championships last month showed our capability.

"It means a huge amount to be going to the Games for a third time. I've had 20 years in this boat, and it's always been my dream to win an Olympic medal. I've been to two Games and finished fifth at both, but I'm excited about what we can do this time round."

Mark England, Team GB Chef de Mission, said: "Following their fantastic silver at the recent World Championships I am delighted to welcome Vita Heathcote and Chris Grube to Team GB for Paris 2024.

"It is great to have Chris back in an Olympic boat for his third Games and I am sure his Olympic experience will make for a strong pairing alongside Vita who is making her Olympic debut this summer."

Mark Robinson, RYA Performance Director and Team GB sailing team leader, added: "In Vita and Chris we have a proven winner at international youth level and an experienced Olympian, who after less than a year together have proven through their recent results that they are capable of continuing Team GB's sailing legacy.

"I know that they, together with our other senior pair Martin Wrigley and Bettine Harris and coach Jonny McGovern, will be pushing hard from now until the Games to ensure our legacy in this class continues."

Heathcote and Grube are the 12th and 13th sailors to be picked for Team GB at Paris 2024, leaving only one spot, in the men's kite discipline, still to fill.

The sailors selected for Paris 2024 are:

  • John Gimson and Anna Burnet - Mixed Multihull (Nacra 17)
  • James Peters and Fynn Sterritt - Men's Skiff (49er)
  • Freya Black and Saskia Tidey - Women's Skiff (49erFX)
  • Emma Wilson - Women's Windsurfing (iQFOiL)
  • Sam Sills - Men's Windsurfing (iQFOiL)
  • Ellie Aldridge - Women's Kite (Formula Kite)
  • Michael Beckett - Men's Dinghy (ILCA 7)
  • Hannah Snellgrove - Women's Dinghy (ILCA 6)
  • Vita Heathcote and Chris Grube - Mixed Dinghy (470)

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